Epsom Speaker International speech Competition

18th March

The room was buzzing with excitement this Monday for our annual club International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Eminent Toastmasters from other local clubs joined us, plus a good number of curious new guests.

The meeting was opened by our Sergeant at Arms, John Drinkwater, who welcomed attendees. Many thanks to John for all the work he puts in behind the scenes to make sure room and equipment are ready. Not to mention all the other things he does for the club!

The International Speech Contest is a massive affair – the first round is at club level, and winners progress through Area, Division, District and so on, to the finals at the Toastmasters International Convention. This year, that will be held in Denver, Colorado, in August. So our contestants are aiming high!

I chaired the contest, and welcomed our four contestants. Dan Magill with ‘There is no Canary’ gave a powerful speech, reminding us of the Hillsborough tragedy and its effects on his friends and neighbours in Liverpool. Amanda Zwarts with ‘Get back in the race’ showed how some of the worst life events can still be overcome, with an attitude of determination. Phoebus Apostolidis with ‘Beyond Depression’ reminded us how many people are affected by this illness and gave us hope and ideas to overcome it. Finally, Dave Goodman gave an upbeat speech ‘Grattitude’, encouraging us to be grateful every day for the good things in our lives and to carry this positive attitude through to our dealings with other people.

After the break, the Evaluation Contest was ably chaired by our VPE, Costa Nicolaou. Costa introduced our mystery guest speaker, Mike Majuru from Croydon Communicators, who gave us a very entertaining (and rather brave!) speech on the theme of Brexit. Many thanks to Mike for joining us – we really enjoyed your speech.

Costa interviewed Mike while we were waiting for the contestants to prepare their speeches. We learned some fascinating facts. Mike has been in Toastmasters just three years but has already completed his Competent Communicator, Competent Leader and higher awards, and was President of Croydon Communicators last year. His take on Brexit – a small affair compared to troubles that occur in his home country of Zimbabwe – is refreshing and gives us pause for thought.

Mike’s speech was evaluated with skill and appreciation by our contestants: Amanda Zwarts, Richard Balfour, Phoebus Apostolidis, Dave Goodman and Mark Peacock.

Finally, Penny Williams led the audience in a never-ending story version of the ‘cool-down’, with much hilarity and contributions from most of the room.

Doris Sewhoy, as Chief Judge, announced the winners:

International Speech Contest:

1. Dave Goodman      2. Dan Magill              3. Amanda Zwarts

Evaluation Contest:

1. Dave Goodman      2. Amanda Zwarts     3. Mark Peacock

Many congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who took part or helped in any way (you know who you were): Judges, Timekeepers, Ballot counters, Ushers, Videographer, and not least to Richard Balfour who helped me to organise the whole thing, did much of the printing and had to put up with my constant worried emails!

Our next club meeting is on April 1st, when Paul Hickson will be Toastmaster.

But before that, we have the Area Contest on Monday 25th March, to be held at 7.30 in Surbiton Hill Methodist Church. Our first and second place winners, Dave, Dan and Amanda  will be competing- please go along, cheer them on, and while you’re at it, volunteer for a role – make yourself part of the event!

Gillian Prior
President